Artist Statement and bio- Michael Puryear
Michael Puryear | Artist
Shokan, NY, USA
I have been a studio furniture maker for over thirty years. Being a visual person, I have always found a special resonance in design. The attraction to furniture in particular arose from my early awareness and appreciation of the clarity and directness of Shaker and Scandinavian design. Later on, the influence of Japanese, African, and other cultures were important.
The choice of wood as a medium is based in tradition, the nature of the technology, and wood’s natural warmth and appeal to the hand. Not having any formal training, I learned my craft through reading and experimentation.
Sometimes I approach design as a problem-solving exercise. This provides an anchoring perspective from which to pursue a creative solution. At other times it is the form that is resonant, and I seek a way to express it in a piece of furniture. The actual process of building a piece also acts as a feedback loop for future exploration.
I wish to imbue my work with shibui, the Japanese term for simple elegance. This often involves curved elements and contrasting woods. This simplicity belies the complexity of the problem of creating and joining these elements aesthetically, while maintaining full function in the design.
Participating in the 2018 ITE Residency has allowed me to observe the interest of and interact with the next generation of woodworkers.